If you own a South Carolina home, water is one of the major threats to its structure and its contents. After all, houses contain a complex web of plumbing that runs to your faucets, showers, bathtubs, dishwasher, clothes washers, and other things. So a burst pipe could be a major problem that can lead to expensive repair bills. Add to that the possibility of water damage from natural disasters.
Is it any wonder then that water damage is one of the most common and costly kinds of insurance claims? Each year, nearly 1 in 50 homeowners will file a water damage claim, which, according to the Insurance Information Institute, accounts for about 24% of all homeowner’s claims. The average water damage claim comes to about $10,900.
So the odds of water damage happening to a homeowner are pretty high. If it does, the following are actions you’ll need to take.
1. File a Claim Quickly
Although cleaning up the mess may be the first thing on your mind, you need to make filing a claim a priority. This is especially true if there’s been widespread damage as your adjuster will likely be helping clients on a first-come, first-served basis. The faster you file, the faster an adjuster can survey the damage, and so the faster you’ll receive a check for repairs. (Filing a claim may become your second action. See heading 5.)
2. DO NOT Start Cleaning Up
A mistake homeowners sometimes make is that they start cleaning up right after a disaster. However, the insurance company needs detailed and documented proof of the disaster itself, so cleaning up without documenting the proper evidence can hurt your claim (or even get it denied).
3. Document the Damages
After filing a claim, the three most important things you can do are document, document, and document. Documenting will include pictures and videos of all damaged items, including the standing water. Take as many pictures as possible. (Hint: It’s impossible to take too many!) Every pic or video you take is proof of any damage that may be unaccounted for during the claims process, helping to ensure you get paid for your losses.
Keeping a home contents list in a safe place can help you to document what you own and its cost. It will contain such information as when the items were bought, how much you paid for them, and pictures of each item of value.
4. Protect Your Possessions
Assuming you’ve already found and stopped the water damage source, move as many of your undamaged possessions as you can to a dry area. This will protect those contents that would be destroyed by water and lower the costs of salvaging the others. Moving undamaged items out of harm’s way will also give you a pretty good idea as to what’s been damaged and what’s not.
Don’t throw out any water-damaged contents until your insurance adjuster has given you the OK to dispose of them. They first need to thoroughly examine them and assess if they’re salvageable and how much money you’ll receive to repair or replace your items.
5. Bring in Water Damage Professionals
South Carolina homeowners should hire a company that specializes in damage assessment, cleanup estimates, and restoration work. Doing so will not just give homeowners a good idea of the cost of repairs, but the company can also perform the water extraction and drying services. Additionally, the company should be able to board up your home if necessary and perform any needed mold remediation.
Although calling your insurance carrier is important, consider talking to a restoration company first to get a professional analysis of the scope of work. If the cost of remediation and restoration isn’t much more than your deductible, you may elect to forego filing a claim. If the damage is more extensive, they’ll contact your insurance company on your behalf.
Remember, it’s your choice which South Carolina restoration company you use. Even if it is implied by your insurance adjuster, you get the final say which company you want to restore your property to its pre-damaged state. So put your trust in Kingsley Water Damage Restoration. We’re a family-owned, fully licensed, certified, and insured water damage restoration and remediation company that’s BBB A+ accredited, A rating with Angie’s List, and over 100 five-star reviews on Google.